The best Las Vegas tours, from the Strip to the Hoover Dam

See the Las Vegas Strip from a helicopter, ogle the city’s casinos and see the Hoover Dam on these Las Vegas tours
Photograph: Courtesy Maverick Helicopter Tours

Sure, you’ve got your nights sorted in Sin City—bookings at the best Las Vegas restaurants, seats at the most in-demand Las Vegas shows. But how should you be filling your days? There are a bunch of great Las Vegas tours that make drinking in this dazzling city and its surrounds both easy and delightful. Whether you want to hit all the top Las Vegas attractions or escape the Strip for a day in the desert, these are the Las Vegas tours you want to be taking.

Best Las Vegas tours

Bright Lights City Tour
Photograph: Courtesy Pink Jeep Tours

Bright Lights City Tour

Your ride is an open-air Jeep, painted flamingo pink. Your mission is to take in the sights and sounds of Sin City when it’s at its very best: after dark. This three-hour Pink Jeep city tour starts at the iconic Las Vegas sign then whisks you down Las Vegas Boulevard while your guide and chauffeur shares historical tidbits and tales to keep you entertained. Make a stop at Pawn Stars’ Gold & Silver Pawn, go bride-spotting in the wedding chapel district, then finish off the night at the Fremont Street Experience, where technicolor shows play across the canopy overhead. Pink Jeep Tours; 888-900-4480.

Lip Smacking Foodie Tours
Photograph: Courtesy Lip Smacking Foodie Tours

Lip Smacking Foodie Tours

As a dining destination, Las Vegas can be overwhelming: so many celebrity chefs, so many enticing eateries, so many steakhouses where you can easily blow a week’s paycheck. Instead of choosing one and settling in for a marathon meal, Lip Smacking Foodie Tours offers Strip and Downtown dine-arounds for the gourmand with commitment issues. You’ll hit a curated selection of restaurants—think Estiatorio Milos for Greek seafood and José Andrés’ Jaleo for tapas—and taste an array of dishes that combine to create a complete meal. An optional upgrade pairs a signature drink at each stop, and knowledgeable guides share Vegas lore along the way. Lip Smacking Foodie Tours; 888-681-4388.

Kayak Black Canyon
Photograph: Courtesy Desert Adventures

Kayak Black Canyon

If there’s one structure that makes Las Vegas possible, it’s the Hoover Dam, the feat of human engineering that harnessed the Colorado River and formed Lake Mead, where the city draws its water. This full-day kayak tourstarts at the base of the dam then travels 11.7 miles on moving flatwater through Black Canyon, where you can spot desert bighorn sheep, coyotes and, if you’re lucky, even a bald eagle. Along the way, you’ll visit the stunning Emerald Cave, stop for a picnic lunch and take quick hikes into nearby slot canyons where you can soak in natural hot springs. Desert Adventures; 702-293-5026.

Maverick Helicopter Tours
Photograph: Courtesy Maverick Helicopter Tours

Vegas Nights Helicopter Tour

The tour itself only lasts about 15 minutes, but you will rarely spend a quarter of an hour so enchanted. After a champagne toast in the Maverick Helicopters terminal, you’ll take off over the Las Vegas Strip and soar above the (faux) Eiffel Tower, the Bellagio fountains and the Luxor high beam. After you’ve absorbed the illuminated wonderland of the casino corridor, head north to Downtown and cruise over the Fremont Street Experience. Take in the sights—and a picture or 10—and return to earth still riding high. Maverick Helicopter Tours; 702-261-0007.

Photograph: Courtesy McGhie's

Guided Bike Tours

Slip into some spandex and grab a helmet. These guided rides from respected local outfitters McGhie’s give you the chance to work up a sweat and get off the trampled Vegas path. For off-road types, the mountain bike tour heads to Cottonwood Valley, where 140 miles of trail beckon. Try the Viagra route for a downhill trip that the company likens to a bobsled run. More keen on pavement? Take a ride around the 13-mile Red Rock Canyon scenic loop and blast your legs with a 5-mile climb surrounded by stunning geological formations. McGhie’s; 702-252-8077.

Big Bus Tours
Photograph: Courtesy Big Bus/Jesse Barrios III

Big Bus

Big Bus’s double-decker, open-air vehicles are part of the Strip landscape, perpetually filled with tourists snapping photos of this landmark or that one as they learn Las Vegas history and trivia from the on-board guide. With hop-on, hop-off privileges and a second day included free with the standard ticket, the big red buses play double duty as transportation and tour as they take you past Strip sights like the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Sign, the Luxor pyramid and the 1,149-foot Stratosphere tower and all the way to Downtown. Big Bus Tours; 702-658-6578.

Photograph: Shutterstock

All-In Nightclub Party Tour

This is Sin City, so you can’t just hit the pillow at 9pm. However, navigating the Strip club landscape (not to be confused with the strip club landscape) can be tricky, and the local gatekeepers sometimes take their jobs very seriously. So why not let someone else handle the logistics while you concentrate on your cocktail and whatever the DJ’s spinning. This club-hopping nightlife tour lets you bounce from venue to venue in your own private party bus with complimentary drinks on the way, expedited entry and never a cover charge. Don’t forget to drink water. Your hangover will thank you. Party Tours Las Vegas; 702-331-2397.

Casino (1995)

Frank Cullotta’s Casino Tour

What was Las Vegas really like when the Mob ran the joint? Why not let a former Mobster tell you? Frank Cullotta was an enforcer for the Chicago Outfit and infamous gangster Tony Spilotro, whose story served as part of the inspiration for Robert De Niro’s Casino. On this tour, you’ll visit the sites of true Mob crimes in Las Vegas as well as landmarks immortalized by the film and learn the history behind the movie from a man who lived to tell it. Frank Cullotta’s Casino Tour; 702-677-9015.

Red Rock Canyon
Photograph: Shutterstock

Cowboy Trail Rides’ WOW Ride

See Las Vegas the way it must have looked to Wild West explorers on this five-hour trail ride from Red Rock Canyon. You’ll leave signs of civilization behind and venture into a narrowing canyon where your horse will pick its way between boulders, spiky yucca plants and Joshua trees. Then it’s up a steep trip to reach the crest of a ridge, where you’ll break for lunch with Las Vegas laid out beneath you. On the way down, keep an eye out for wild burros and a long abandoned mining road, the scant evidence of human impact on this harsh landscape—at least, that is, until you return to your hotel for a well-earned beer. Cowboy Trail Rides; 702-387-2457.

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